Tag Archives: liberal democrats

Former BBC Director General: Liberal Democrats secured better settlement for BBC

Former BBC Director General Mark Thompson has told how the Liberal Democrats in coalition government secured a “different and better” settlement for the BBC. Now that the Conservatives are unmoderated, things are not so good for what many feel is the highest quality public service broadcaster in the world.

The Guardian reports:

Giving his his first interview about the BBC since he left in 2012, after eight years at the helm, Thompson said the broadcaster was having to pay for government policy. “It’s welfare … It’s totally inappropriate to use BBC to support social transfer in this country.”

When George Osborne tried to impose the same cost on the BBC during negotiations in 2010, Thompson started writing his resignation letter, along with several BBC Trustees. This July the current director general, Tony Hall, agreed to shoulder the burden in return for relief from other costs.

“In 2015 the political circumstances are very different and it is much tougher for the BBC. In 2010 it was the coalition government and the Liberal Democrats … played a very big part in securing a different and better settlement. That recourse has not been available to the BBC this year.”

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Liberal Democrats: born or conceived?


I recently attended a Southeastern Lib Dem conference where one of our members stated that Liberal Democrats are “born.” He further stated that Liberal Democrats do not choose the party, their values determine whether they are party members or not.

I assume that he was supporting our leader, Tim Farron’s, invitation for all of those who have liberal values in their hearts to join the party. While I, too, support Tim’s invitation and believe that there are many U.K. citizens and those living in this country who have and stand up for liberal values, I cannot entirely do away with freedom of choice. Where does this lead us? Does it mean that only those whose parents were Liberal Democrats can be Liberal Democrats? That would be a dubious strategy for increasing our numbers.

Posted in Op-eds | 7 Comments

“The Lib Dems in the last Parliament were far and away the most effective opposition of my lifetime”

British writer Edward Docx has taken to the pages of the Guardian to praise the work the Liberal Democrats did in the last Parliaemnt and how this will become very clear when George Osborne announces his Autumn Statement next week.

The 20,000 people who joined the party in the wake of our election meltdown know that, as do the voters who are turning back to us.

Docx made several key points about the Liberal Democrat actions in the coalition years:

There were two oppositions in the last parliament: Labour and the Liberal Democrats. And, this week more than ever, it is worth saying that only the latter made any difference to the real lives of real people. Why? Because they were in government.

Refuse, in other words, to allow Osborne’s self-serving narrative to present itself as the only story. And, of course, this is exactly what the Liberal Democrats were doing day-in and day-out during the last parliament on behalf of the majority of reasonable and none-ideological people who did not vote Conservative.

Danny Alexander has taken some stick in his time, some of it deserved, but he was able to hold the Tories back:

For every fiscal decision in the last government, the Liberal Democrats (through Danny Alexander) asked for a distributional analysis so that they could see where the pain of cuts would be felt – whether on the richer or the less well off. What this meant in practice was that every time the Tories attempted something that placed an unfair burden on the poor, the Liberal Democrats first illuminated the policy for what it was and then either blocked it (often repeatedly) or insisted upon a reciprocal burden being placed on the better off.

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So you want to be Liberal Democrat Party Treasurer…

…said very few people ever. However, there have been some bold and enterprising individuals who have taken the role on over the years, to whom we are extremely grateful.

The most recent incumbent was Lord Ian Wrigglesworth, who stepped down in September, so the party is seeking someone to fill this important role.

This isn’t about financial admin, book-keeping, financial strategy and telling people sternly that they can’t spend money we don’t have. That role is taken by the Chair of the Federal Finance and Administration Committee, currently Peter Dunphy. It’s mainly about fundraising – making sure the party has the money it needs to fight campaigns strongly.  The ad on the party website explains more:

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No, the Liberal Democrats do not owe Police Scotland £800,000 (or any other sum for that matter)

Get into an argument with any cybernat and, sooner or later, when you’ve won the argument, you’ll have it thrown at you, a bit like a modern Godwin’s Law, that the Liberal Democrats should pay their £800,000 bill to Police Scotland.

This is all to do with the security arrangements for our conference in Glasgow in 2013. South of the Border, the Home Office picks up these costs. As policing is devolved, the Scottish Government had responsibility and refused to do so. That meant that, apart from a small contribution to cover the costs of accreditation from the UK Government, Police Scotland had to pick up the tab themselves. Nothing to do with us.

Every time I get this, I refer the cybernat in question to this response to a freedom of information request which comprehensively debunks the idea that we owe any money to Police Scotland at all. Read my lips,

By way of explanation, it has been reported in the media that there is an outstanding invoice of £800,000 for this conference; however, this is factually incorrect. No invoice for the policing costs of the conference was ever generated and the Liberal Democrats did not enter into any arrangement with Police Scotland to provide policing.

In case it wasn’t clear the first time:

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Is the pro-EU case strengthened by the #StrongerIn campaign?

I have to be honest, I found yesterday’s launch of the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign deeply uninspiring. They seem to have learned none of the lessons from the Scottish Referendum. It’s not enough to win the vote. You have to win the campaign, too. Setting out a long retail list of facts and figures is not going to cut the mustard. Of course it’s important to know that our bank balances and jobs benefit from being in the EU. Of course it’s important to have former top police officers tell us that the European Arrest Warrant keeps us safer. You need the melody to engage people, though, and there was none of this. It was all bass notes. There was no celebrating of the fact that the EU has meant that our parents, our generation, our children and, we hope, generations to come are not fighting each other on European battlefields.

What was worse was the implication that this campaign was the patriotic one and that those who want to leave the EU were described as “quitters”. That is deeply unhelpful language that does nothing to engage people. I loathe the use of the word “patriotic” in politics at the best of times. It is pure poison and the way it’ll be flung around by both campaigns renders it utterly meaningless. This is all a bit deja vu because I remember being so sickened by Better Together styling itself the “patriotic” campaign that I didn’t go to its launch.

I don’t think for a moment that I am BSIE’s  target audience. It really doesn’t matter what this lot do. I’m going to vote to stay in the EU even if Stuart Rose and Karren Brady spend the entire campaign re-enacting the George Galloway/Rula Lenska scene from Celebrity Big Brother. However, our opponents will be well-funded and well organised with a message that is a strong layer of populist froth on top of some deeply negative, divisive and scapegoating message, just like the Yes campaign was north of the border. It’s pretty clear that winning the campaign is important. There needs to be an air of sunshine and positivity about the pro-EU side and the many mistakes made by Better Together must not be repeated. The assumptions they made about their target audience ended up just driving people into the hands of the Yes campaign. 

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A tale of two conferences in Bournemouth

It was a little weird leaving Bournemouth a week past on Wednesday to think that the Greens would be moving into the same space a couple of days later.

The Liberal Democrat Conference had a super atmosphere and was always very busy. I couldn’t believe the number of people who attended those 9am sessions to do such things as scrutinise the financial accounts and most times when I went into the hall for speeches or policy debates the only seats left were in the gods.

All the fringe meetings were packed to capacity as the Conference was the biggest we’d ever had in terms of members attending. It was great to meet so many new members, too and all I spoke to were having a great time.

Lib Dem member Ryan Lailvaux, attending his first Conference, said:

What an amazing conference it had been. An opportunity to meet great human beings and take back wonderful memories. Never have I been so inspired or so proud to be part of a movement. A liberal movement.

Compare and contrast with this article on Bright Green which talks about the Greens event:

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Recent Comments

  • User Avatarmalc 13th Feb - 12:01am
    Merel I was commenting on the point you raised on how few women have been elected to the HofC's since 1918. As you know in...
  • User Avatarpetermartin2001 12th Feb - 11:59pm
    @Victor Grayson, There some information here on the current account. http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-kingdom/current-account But we need to bear in mind that the figures may not be entirely...
  • User AvatarChris_sh 12th Feb - 11:58pm
    @RC @petermartin2001 @Victor Grayson "Not to mention the fact that we are also effectively importing other countries’ unemployment. Plus we are paying for the improvement...
  • User AvatarTim Hill 12th Feb - 11:42pm
    Charles Kenney once said something like "I'm a European, I'm British, I'm Scottish and I'm a Highlander. None are exclusive of another. Philip - I...
  • User AvatarPaul Holmes 12th Feb - 11:39pm
    Meral, can you explain how AWS or any other kind of all Diversity shortlist actually gets more LD Diversity candidates elected to Westminster under a...
  • User AvatarRsf7 12th Feb - 11:10pm
    I Looked it up. The lib dems did something like this ages ago. They have been playing this card for over a decade then u-turning....